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DC DUI Facts and Hidden Costs

Many people are surprised to learn the following facts about driving under the influence (DUI) in DC. Shawn Sukumar, a DUI lawyer in Washington, DC, has helped compile some useful information about driving under the influence in the District of Columbia.

Facts

  • The government has two opportunities to suspend or revoke the driving privileges of persons charged with DUI. After a DUI arrest, the government initiates an administrative proceeding and a criminal proceeding. Losing in either proceeding can lead to suspension or revocation of a driver’s license.
  • If a person refuses to take a chemical test (breath, urine or blood), she faces a mandatory loss of her driver’s license, often for a period longer than the period triggered by a DUI conviction.
  • A person may not be affected by alcohol within the first minutes of drinking. A police officer can wait two hours following an arrest for DUI to administer a BAC test and the test is still legally valid. Therefore, a BAC test might show a much higher BAC level than the driver had when the officer initially stopped her. Thus, a driver might not be legally intoxicated when stopped, but can still be found guilty of committing a crime.
  • A person’s driving ability need not actually be impaired for the person to be convicted of DUI. The DUI law’s “per se” provision means that a driver is presumed to be under the influence regardless of actual impairment if her BAC is above 0.08.

Considering the above facts and the extraordinary effects that a DUI conviction can have on a person’s life, a basic understanding of DUI laws is critical, as is having an experienced DUI attorney by your side.

Hidden Costs

Before driving under the influence, most people do not consider the consequences of DUI beyond jail time and the suspension or revocation of a driver’s license. The hidden consequences of being arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are long-lasting and far-reaching, however. Consider the most common consequences experienced as a result of a DUI conviction:

  • Supervised Probation
  • Jail time
  • Criminal fines
  • Community service
  • Loss of a company car
  • Revocation of driver’s license for up to two years
  • Revocation of a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
  • Increased car insurance premiums
  • High Risk Insurance
  • Restricted entrance into foreign countries, including Canada
  • Eviction from a rental unit
  • Loss of security clearance
  • Ignition interlock device on the driver’s car(s)
  • Court-ordered alcohol treatment
  • Traffic programs
  • Lost opportunity of future employment
  • Denial of a pending application for a life insurance policy or cancellation or up-rating of an existing policy.

Since inquiries can be made into a convicted driver’s record long after the offense occurred, the costs of driving while intoxicated are enormously high. There is no such thing as a “simple DUI.” Every driver should understand both the dangers of driving while intoxicated, and the consequences of a DUI conviction.

This page is adapted with permission from a publication co-authored by David Benowitz, Jason Kalafat, and Shawn Sukumar.

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